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My Lute, awake, perform the last Labour that thou and I shall wast: And ende that I have now begunne, And when this
song My lute be styll for I have done.
As to be heard where eare is none, As leade to grave in marble stone, My song may pearce her hart as soon ! Should we then sigh, or sing, or mone, No, no, my lute, for I have done.
The rocks do not so cruelly, Repulse the waves continually,
As she my suite and affection:
Proude of the spoyle that thou hast gotte,
Vengeance shall fall on thy disdaine
May chaunce thee lye withred and old,
And then may chaunce thee to repent, The time that thou hast lost and spent, To cause thy lovers sighe and swone: Then shalt thou know beauty but lent, And wish and want as I have done.
Now cease, my lute, this is the last,
THE LOVER DETERMINETH TO SERVE FAITHFULLY.
Since Love will needs, that I shall love, Of very
force I must agree:
Though for good will I finde but hate,
For since my hart is bound to serve,
Yet though my griefe finde noe redress,
Yea though fortune her pleasant face, Should shew, to set me up aloft, And straight my wealth for to deface, Should wrythe away, as she doth oft, Yet would I still my self apply, To serve and suffer patiently.
There is no griefe, no smert, no woe, That yet I feel, or after shall, That from this minde may make me goe, And whatsoever me befall, I do profess it willingly To serve and suffer patiently.
HENRY HOWARD, Earl of Surrey, the son and grandson of two Lords Treasurers, Dukes of Norfolk, was born in 1516 or 1518, probably at Framlingham, in Suffolk; but neither the year nor the place of his birth has been precisely ascertained. His name is, as it were, a synonym for chivalry; the story of his life is a chapter of romance-of poetical Knight-errantry; we can only associate with his memory ideas of heroic grandeur and devoted love. His youth was passed at Windsor-where he
" in last and joy Wyth a kynges sonne his chyldysh yeres dyd passe," — with this “kinges sonne," a natural son of Henry the Eighth, Surrey formed a beautiful friendship — studying together, together enjoying manly sports, together travelling abroad, -until the young Duke of Richmond having wedded the sister of his chosen "fere,” unhappily died soon after the ceremony had been performed, at the early age of seventeen. After the loss of this beloved friend, Surrey made the tour of Europe, proclaiming, it is said, the unparalleled charms of the Ladye Geraldine ; issuing a defiance against any knight who should presume to question her superiority: and proving his prowess and knightly skill, by overcoming aspersers of her beauty, in tournaments at Florence and at Windsor. So, at least, assert some of his biographers; but there is reason to believe that their statements are exaggerated. She was a daughter of Gerald Fitzgerald, Earl of Kildare;
" Postred she was with milke of Irish brest,
Her sire an Erle.” It is, however, satisfactorily shown that she was but the ideal mistress of his heart-that his love was purely Platonic-put on like the armorial bearings of his shield-and that before he celebrated her charms and maintained her supremacy, he was himself married to a daughter of the Earl of Oxford-and was an attached and faithful husband. The devoirs of the lover and the soldier did not even at this time altogether occupy the mind of Surrey; in cultivating the literature of the Italians, he was laying the foundation of his after-fame. On his return to England, his name was conspicuous in all the military achievements of the age ;-and in 1544 he commanded as Field Marshal the English army in an expedition against Boulogne. But the tide of his success was on the ebh. The despot Henry became jealous of the talents and popularity of the Earl; certain frivolous and groundless charges were brought against him; the result was a mock trial at Guildhall, and, notwithstanding his eloquent and manly defence, his execution on Tower Hill, on the 21st of January 1547. The judicial murder of Surrey is one of the foulest blots upon humanity. The tyrant survived the victim but a few days; and posterity, while it execrates the memory of the one, reverences that of the other.
The " Songes and sonettes, written by the right honorable Lorde Henry Howard, late Earle of Surrey," were first printed by Tottel in 1557, accompanied by a quaint preface, intreating the gentle reader that he " thynke not evil done, to publysh to the honour of the Englysh tong, and for the profite of the studiouse of Englysh Eloquence those woorkes whiche the ungentle horders up of suche treasure have heretofore envyed" him - exhorting also the unlearned " by reading to learne to be more skyllfull, and to purge that swinelike grossenesse that maketh the sweet majerome not to smell to theyr delyght." Notwithstanding this desire on the part of the collector to preserve the writings of Surrey, many of them were lost. He translated the Ecclesiastes of Solomon, and a few of the Psalms of David, into rhyme; and is the author of the first compositions, in blank verse, in the English language. They are translations from the 2d and 4th books of the Æneid.
The chivalrous character of the man is evident from his writings. He orders lovers to give place before his mistress, as if he spoke with lance in rest. His love "songes and sonettes” are accordingly more gallant and sentimental than amatory; of exceeding elegance and chastity, -and in construction and versification so smooth and graceful, as to vie, in this quality, with the productions of a more advanced period. The poems of the Earl of Surrey are, indeed, far more modern and simple in their style than those of the great age which succeeded his. He had taste to study and enjoy the Italian poets, but his judgment was sound enough to avoid their faults; and his mind was not too much overlaid by learning.
So cruell prison howe could betyde, alas !